Love in Bloom

Love in Bloom by Arlene James Read Free Book Online

Book: Love in Bloom by Arlene James Read Free Book Online
Authors: Arlene James
seeing some profit from the SOS project. Hauling as much of her newly found treasures over to her place as she could, Lily discovered that she had company.
    “Lily!” Isabella cried. Dressed in patriotic garb, she rushed forward to throw her arms around Lily’s waist as if they were old, dear friends. “Happy Independence Day!”
    Lily laughed, juggling armfuls of treasures. “Hello. How good to see you. How have you been?”
    “Fine. Your shop looks pretty.” Isabella obviously liked the lavender counter and the little scarlet heart dotting the i in the shop logo.
    “I’m guessing that your favorite color is purple,” Lily said, depositing her goods on the countertop, but Isabella shook her head.
    “Really?” Lily brushed off her hands, smiling. “I’ll remember that.”
    Tate, whom Lily had tried hard not to notice too keenly, made an impatient sound. “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting here for twenty minutes.”
    Lily’s delight at seeing them diminished. “I’m sorry. Miss Mars came up with a plan for me to make floral arrangements for each of the new shops to use as decorations for the Grand Opening, but I had to find the right containers. And look! Just look at what we found.”
    She started describing how she would use each of her treasures. “What could be better for the Fluff & Stuff than a bird cage? Right? I’m thinking blues and greens and yellows. We’ll hang it right next to that cheeky parrot of his. And the percolator will work great for the coffee shop. Not sure about those flowers, maybe some ‘chocolaty’ reds. With a little paint, the bread box will make a beautiful display for the bakery next door. All pastels there. Oh, my favorite is an antique typewriter. That’s still across the street. It’s sooo heavy, but how perfect is that for a bookstore? Plus, I’m finally going to have furni—”
    “So you’re going to do all this and still be ready for the opening?” Tate interrupted sharply.
    Stung, Lily bowed her head. “Yes, I—I think so. If I have some help.”
    Tate stepped back, and Lily cringed inwardly. “I’m sorry. I—I didn’t mean to imply… That is…I suppose I am a bit overwhelmed, but when Miss Mars suggested that flower arrangements for all the shops would be a good way to showcase my design abilities and dress up the shops for the Grand Opening, too…” Lily sighed and shook her head. “Perhaps I’m not as forceful as I should be. I’ve always been a bit shy, and…” She let the words dwindle away, uncertain where she was even going with this.
    Tate cleared his throat and mumbled something about being worried when he’d found the shop empty and not wanting to overburden her when she was trying to get the place together.
    In the midst of the awkward silence that followed, Isabella piped up with “You were wrong, Dad, and Mrs. Connolly was right.”
    Tate speared her with a pointed glance. “Duh.”
    “Just saying,” Isabella went on, shrugging.
    Lily looked from one to the other of them in confusion.
    Tate rolled his eyes and admitted, “Coraline came to see me, okay? She thought you needed help and wanted to organize a work brigade, but I assumed you were doing okay and we just needed to stay out of your way.” He looked aside, adding, “You appeared to be getting things together. Others seemed to need more help.”
    Lily had to admit that, from what she’d seen just today, a bakery, coffee shop, bookstore, pet shop and hardware store all required significantly more preparation than a floral shop. “You have a point there. I’m the problem. I—I haven’t been as focused as I need to be. Frankly, being from Boston, I’m used to having more people around.” Most of whom would actually speak to her without waiting for her to speak first.
    Tate rubbed a hand over his head. “Well, about that, the committee sort of asked the townspeople to leave all you newcomers alone until you get set up and settled.”

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